South Africa- planning for a multiple use approach at local level

South Africa- planning for a multiple use approach at local level

TitleSouth Africa- planning for a multiple use approach at local level
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsCousins T, Dlamini V, Maluleke SSmits and

This paper, which was presented at the 7th WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP symposium in Lilongwe, Malawi, discusses the SWELL (Securing Water to Enhance Local Livelihoods) methodology, an approach for community-based planning for multiple uses of water, which seeks alignment with planning mechanisms at local government level. The application of the approach in Bushbuckridge helped creating a better understanding of the status of water services in the region and the constraints these pose on people's livelihoods. Involving intermediate level stakeholders proved to be crucial, but at times also difficult.

Full Text

Looking at livelihoods strategies of poor rural communities, it becomes evident that people require water for both domestic and productive needs. Access to reliable supplies of water affects a great number of activities, and water availability can provide a wide range of opportunities for the rural poor. However, traditionally, water supply planning has focussed on meeting basic domestic needs only. To achieve greater water security at village level, and for water to meaningfully tackle poverty, a more holistic and integrated approach to water planning is needed, which is based on an understanding of people’s livelihood strategies and the role of water resources (and constraints) within those.

This paper attempts to discuss such an approach, which was developed and piloted in Bushbuckridge, South Africa. SWELL (Securing Water to Enhance Local Livelihoods) is a community-based planning approach that aims to enable improved allocation and use of water resources for water-related livelihoods. The SWELL methodology is based on a participatory process that brings together villagers, water service implementers and other agencies. The process enables stakeholders to develop a greater and shared understanding of people’s multiple water needs and available water resources, and to jointly develop strategies and plans, based on that information. The paper provides an overview of the methodology, as well of the application in Bushbuckridge, through to the outcomes of the assessment processes and how those were taken forward.

This paper was presented at the 7th WaterNet/WARFA/GWP-SA Symposium, held in Lilongwe, Malawi.